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December 15, 2015
Two former helicopter test pilots are among the team of astronauts that successfully docked today at the International Space Station. American astronaut Timothy Kopra, British astronaut Timothy Peake and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Ivanovich Malenchenko blasted off on a Soyuz rocket out of Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 5:03 p.m. local time. Despite trouble with the automatic rendezvous system, commander...
December 7, 2015
Photo courtesy of NASA / James Blair A British Army helicopter pilot and a fellow rotary-wing aviator from the U.S. are scheduled to fly to the International Space Station next week for a nearly six-month tour of duty in low-Earth orbit.    European Space Agency crewmember Tim Peake will make his first spaceflight. NASA astronaut Tim Kopra served on the space station for two months in 2009. ...
December 1, 2015
A small drone’s accidental threat to people on the ground was the only hazard considered by a U.S. task force that recommended registration procedures for such aircraft.  The Transportation Dept. task force on Nov. 21 said all unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) weighing between about 0.55 lb and 55 lb should be registered with the FAA. That range covers maximum takeoff weight, including the drone...
November 27, 2015
India has eased financial restrictions on importing helicopters and other aircraft for scheduled and non-scheduled service, according to that nation’s central bank. Previously, a bank could not clear advance payments of $50...
November 23, 2015
Top FAA and U.S. Transportation Dept. officials already have already begun reviewing a draft rule requiring registration of small, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). A department-created task force on the topic delivered recommendations Nov. 21 after its 25 participating organizations unanimously agreed on them, according to the director of the FAA’s UAS Integration Office, Earl Lawrence. But U.S...
November 17, 2015
There is more at stake in the current Washington debate over privatizing the U.S. air traffic control system than who controls the nation’s airspace, said Ed Bolen in opening the National Business Aviation Assn.’s annual convention in Las Vegas Tuesday morning. The NBAA president/CEO acknowledged that control clearly is a huge part of the debate. U.S. airlines have spent years and hundreds of...
November 9, 2015
India's conglomerate Tata has added Boeing to its list of aerospace joint-venture partners. The subsidiary Tata Advanced Systems Ltd. and Boeing today said their new joint venture initially will create a “manufacturing center of excellence” to...
November 6, 2015
The U.S. isn't alone in its concern about how to regulate civil drones. France is concerned, too. As U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx prepared last month to launch a drone registry task force (which wrapped up three days of deliberations yesterday), a top-level French government agency noted that “current regulation [in France] is inadequate and must be reformed to better prevent and...
November 3, 2015
The U.S. Transportation Department's drone registration task force gathered today in Washington, D.C., to start work on recommending requirements for marking and tracing ownership of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). A key question for the 26 task force members was framed by FAA Administrator Michael Huerta: What products should we exclude...
November 3, 2015
A proposed bill that would hamstring U.S. veterans’ option to use their post-9/11 GI Bill benefits for helicopter flight training tackles the wrong problem, rotorcraft industry groups said. H.R. 476 (the "GI Bill Education Quality Enhancement Act of 2015") would reinterpret GI Bill permission to veterans to get flight training on...
November 2, 2015
Various photographs and at least one video of the AW609 crash site offer some key data points on the fatal Oct. 30 accident in northwestern Italy. The imagery appears to show, in a crop field, two collections of wreckage that are near each other but distinctly separate. One set of wreckage is shown near a small embankment on one edge of the field; the other set is shown farther into the field. The...
October 23, 2015
Two U.S. congressmen are calling on the FAA to act immediately on requiring all new-build helicopters to have crash-resistant fuel systems. Those systems are the focus of next week’s Rotorcraft Certification Summit opening session; NTSB Director of Aviation Safety John DeLisi will brief summit attendees on the fatal 2014 Bell Helicopter 206L1+ air ambulance crash that led to the safety...
October 21, 2015
The National Telecommunications and Information Admin. is holding its third of four public stakeholder meetings today to discuss best practices for integrating UAS into the U.S. National...
October 20, 2015
The European Aviation Safety Agency has named the first members of its EASA Virtual Academy, which aims to sustain competency among national aviation regulatory staffs across Europe and promote harmonized regulatory and certification practices among European nations. The members are CAA International (an aviation consultancy wholly owned by the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority), the Joint Aviation Authorities...
October 19, 2015
A U.S. plan to require registration of “hobby” drones offers the federal government better options for educating drone operators about their responsibilities in the air and enforcing their compliance with flight and airspace rules. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today said he had set up an industry/government task force to advise him by Nov. 20 on how to set up the registry...
October 15, 2015
The Unmanned K-MAX flew firefighting demonstration flights for U.S. officials on Oct. 14 outside Boise, Idaho, in Lockheed Martin's and Kaman's latest effort to prove the aircraft's potential for dousing wildland blazes around the clock. Operating...
October 15, 2015
A 31-year-old man is headed to prison for pointing a laser at a Tampa, Florida, police department's helicopter. Jeremy Wayne Sumpter of Garland, Texas, was sentenced to...
October 13, 2015
Law enforcement and aviation officials in Miami, Florida, have formed a task force to deal with unmanned aircraft, according a local TV news report. WTVJ said the task force is being led by the state attorney for the Miami-Dade County...
October 5, 2015
California Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed three UAS-related bills as part of a larger effort to maintain simplicity of the state's criminal code. Senate Bills 168, 170 and 271, all proposed by Sen. Ted Gaines...
October 2, 2015
New international agreements promise to remove obstacles for manufacturers offering helicopter improvements to operators in the U.S., Canada and Europe. Officials of the FAA, European Aviation Safety Agency and Transport Canada signed the agreements Sept. 15; the FAA announced them Sept. 28. Once they go into effect, the pacts enable aviation...
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